10 Yoga Poses To Alleviate Back Pain

Low Back Pain is extremely common. The lower back is the ONE area of your body that you can exercise every to help strengthen and alleviate back pain (every other body part should have a resting period between strength training).

The keys to a healthy back are mobility, flexibility and strength—which can all be improved through a consistent, basic yoga practice.

Try these ten moves for a tight and achy back. If you have moderate to severe pain, please consult with your physician before beginning an exercise routine.

You can find more in depth info on these moves by clicking this link.

1. Bird Dog

 

2. Bridge

3. Cat – Cow

4. Downward Facing Dog

5. Forward Fold

6. Legs Up The Wall

7. Plank

8. Side Plank

9. Supine Pigeon

10. Supine Twist

 

 

6 Moves to a Better Booty

I have many clients that ask me to give them a bubble butt! here are 6 moves you are probably not doing to help firm, tone, tighten and lift your booty!

1. SIDE PLANK WITH CLAM SHELL 

Lie on your side with your elbow under your shoulder and your hips stacked. Keep the bottom knee on the floor and push up into a modified side plank. At the same time, externally rotate your top hip. Slowly drop the top knee down to the bottom knee to close the clamshell as you tap your bottom hip to the floor. Repeat 12-15 reps, then flip over to the other side and repeat.

side-plank-clam-shell

 

2. PRONE FROGGER 

Lie prone and bend your knees to 90 degrees. Externally rotate your hips, so that your knees separate (about 12 inches apart) and your heels touch. Keep your head down and engage your glutes as you push your feet up toward the sky. Your quadriceps should lift off the floor. Pause at the top before slowly lowering back down to the starting position. Perform 12-15 repetitions.

prone-frogger

 

3. SIDE BALANCE LEG CIRCLES 

Place your hand on the floor, directly under your shoulder. Place your bottom knee under your hip. Lift your top leg and line your foot up with your top hip. While moving from the hip, draw 10 small circles in one direction, and then reverse the circle for another 10 repetitions. Switch sides and complete another set with the other leg.

side-balance-leg-circles

 

4. GLUTE BRIDGE WITH BAND 

Place a mini band around your calves. Lie on your back and lift your hips into a bridge position. While keeping tension on the band, tap your hips down to the floor and then lift back up. Keep a straight spine and move primarily from the hips. Perform 15-20 repetitions.

glute-bridge-band

5. SEATED MINI-BAND HIP ABDUCTION 

Place the band around your calves and sit down with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Position your hands on the floor slightly behind you. Keep a straight back and press your legs out to the sides, externally rotating the hips. Maintain control as the legs come back together. Repeat 12-15 repetitions.

seated-mini-hip-band-abduction

 

6. ELEVATED PLANK WITH LEG LIFT 

Place the band around the calves. Rest your hands on a bench/step, directly under your shoulders. While maintaining a plank position, squeeze your glutes as you alternately lift each leg. Complete 12-15 repetitions with each leg.

plank-leg-lift

 

What is the best time of day for YOU to workout

Did you know that biologically your body will respond exercise best at a certain time of day. This is different for each individual.  Take this quiz to determine your chronotype, and best time of day for YOU to exercise.

  1. You have to do two hours of physically hard work. If you were entirely free to plan your day, in which of the following periods would you choose to do the work?
    1. 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. (4 points)
    2. 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (3 points)
    3. 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (2 points)
    4. 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (1 point)
  2. You have to take a two-hour test. You know it will be mentally exhausting. If you were entirely free to choose, when would you choose to take the test?
    1. 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. (4 points)
    2. 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (3 points)
    3. 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (2 points)
    4. 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (1 point)
  3. A friend has asked you to join him twice per week for a workout. The best time for him is between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. With nothing else in mind other than how you normally feel in the evening, how do you think you would perform?
    1. Very poorly (4 points)
    2. Poorly (3 points)
    3. Well enough (2 points)
    4. Very well (1 point)
  4. We hear about “morning” and “evening” types of people. Which of these types do you consider yourself?
    1. Definitely morning type (6 points)
    2. More a morning than an evening type (4 points)
    3. More an evening than a morning type (2 points)
    4. Definitely an evening type (0 points)

Add your scores together to get your total and compare your score with the table below to identify your chronotype. Your chronotype suggests your best time of day to train where overall fitness and pleasure are your primary goals.

  • Definitely morning type (14–16 points)
  • Moderately morning type (11–13 points)
  • Neither type (9–10 points)
  • Moderately evening type (4–8 points)
  • Definitely evening type (0-3 points)

Fight Inflammation With Food

There are ways to naturally fight inflammation. You can do this by simply avoiding or limiting certain foods or by increasing your intake of healthy foods that fight inflammation.

Take a look at this recommended list of food and recipes by The Nutrition Twins. For even more details click this link.

FOODS THAT PROMOTE INFLAMMATION INCLUDE:

1. SUGAR AND REFINED CARBOHYDRATES

Cakes, cookies, bakery items, sugar, grains made with white flour including white bread, pasta, bagels, etc.

  • Too much sugar can alert the body to send out extra immunity messengers called cytokines, which create inflammation.
  • Think of refined carbohydrates as an indulgence and consume them in small amounts.
2. FRIED FOODS

French fries, tempura, doughnuts, etc.

  • Aim to indulge only occasionally and share with friends.
3. ANIMAL FATS

Butter, full-fat dairy products, fatty cuts of beef, pork, etc.

  • A daily pat of butter or a serving of full-fat yogurt in a diet that contains primarily anti-inflammatory foods isn’t problematic; however, the typical American diet is already inflammatory, so these habits contribute to even more inflammation.
4. EXCESSIVE DRINKING
  • Stick to one drink a day if you’re a woman, and one to two drinks a day if you‘re a man.
5. TRANS FATS

Crackers, baked goods, crusts, frozen pizzas, stick margarines, etc.

  • Read ingredient labels and steer clear of hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils.
6. OMEGA-6 OILS

Seeds and vegetable oils from corn, sunflower, safflower, soy and vegetables; mayonnaise; and many salad dressings.

  • While the body needs omega-6 fatty acids for health and development, it needs a healthy balance of omega-6s and omega-3s. Too much omega-6s trigger the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals.
  • The current ratio in the U.S. diet is estimated to be 16:1 omega-6s to omega-3s, instead of the ideal 4-to-1 or lower ratio.
  • Cut back on processed and fast foods to reduce the ratio and choose olive, flaxseed and avocado oils over other vegetable oils.

FOODS THAT FIGHT INFLAMMATION:

1. FRUITS

All of them (go for variety and choose rich colors as each color represents a different health-promoting phytonutrient)

  • Fruit contains potent antioxidants that mop up free radicals that damage your cells and cause inflammation.
  • All fruits reduce TNF-alpha, a marker of inflammation.
  • Brightly colored fruits like berries and cherries contain anthocyanins, which are anti-inflammatory powerhouses.

Try these recipes:

2. VEGGIES

All of them (like fruits, consume a variety and choose those with deep colors)

  • Their phytochemicals are superstars and combat inflammation.
  • Kale, Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables are rich in sulfur and go through two detox phases in the liver, forcing the body to create more enzymes that clean out the body and reduce the toxic, inflammation-producing load.
  • Stack sandwiches with spinach and tomatoes; use lettuce or kale for wraps and toss bell peppers and red onions in omelets.

Try these recipes:

3. WALNUTS AND CHIA SEEDS
  • Research has shown that nuts reduce markers of inflammation and lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
  • Walnuts are highest in anti-inflammatory omega-3s and their polyphenols also help to reduce inflammation.
  • Chia seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3s in plant foods that fight inflammation.

Try these recipes:

4. SPICES

Especially turmeric, ginger, garlic and cinnamon

  • Turmeric is a marigold root and its active ingredient, curcumin, has been found to be beneficial in fighting inflammation and helping to ease symptoms of inflammatory diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.
  • Ginger has been shown to reduce inflammation after exercise as well as decrease joint pain in chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.

Try these recipes:

5. FATTY FISH

Salmon, tuna, sardines, herring and white fish

  • Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are associated with lower levels of inflammation. Your body can’t make omega-3s—eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)—so it’s important to get them through your diet.
  • Eat at least one to two servings of fatty fish a week.

Try these recipes:

6. TEA
  • Tea contains polyphenolic compounds called catechins, which are ultra-strong antioxidants.
  • Aim for three to four cups a day for maximum benefits, as research suggests.

Try these recipes:

 

A Quick Look Into Prenatal Workouts

While pregnant with my daughter I was very nervous about many things. I was a first time mom to be, this is to be expected. When it came to exercise I would workout 4-6 times a week. This was not too different from my pre-pregnancy workout schedule. The big difference was the type of workouts I would do.

I took a big step down in all my workouts. Minimizing my cardio and weight lifting. With new research and reports, there is more evidence that we do not need to modify as much as we think. We should  always take our doctors advice and always  listen to our bodies. However, now in my second pregnancy I am sticking to the same workouts I have always done and just modify as needed. I keep a close track of my breathing making sure I can complete a full sentence without being too out of breath. I push myself but don’t let myself feel too uncomfortable with any move.

Here is a quick little article I found with a little more info.

 

Easy Energy Banana Bites and Cookies

Today my daughter decided to peel all 4 bananas I had in the fruit bowl on the table. Knowing that she and I would not be eating 4 bananas, it left me quickly thinking “what can I make with ingredients I have on hand?”.

I made two different (but similar) recipes. Both are great for a quick snack and can be eaten any time of day with no guilt.

3 Ingredient – Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

and

Banana Bread Energy Bites.

Both recipes are extremely simple. I had my 2 yr old help me but the process would have went much faster (and cleaner) had I done it on my own.  We probably spent about 40 minutes preparing both.

I slightly modified recipes I found. You can see the original recipes if you hit the above links.

Here are my recipes….

3 Ingredient – Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

2 cups quick cooking oats

2 ripe bananas

chocolate chips

Directions

Brake up bananas into smaller pieces and mash them. Add oats and chocolate chips. I eyeballed the amount of chocolate to my liking (aka, however many I had left after my kid was putting fist fulls in her mouth). Mix all ingredients. Place a spoon full on to a cookie sheet. I then like to flatten the cookie a bit with the back of the spoon. Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes at 350.

I leave a couple of cookies in a jar to eat the same or next day and freeze the rest. When I want to eat a few I simply warm them up in the microwave (appx. 15 seconds) or the toaster over (apprx. 3 minutes at 350).

Banana Bread Energy Bites

Ingredients

2 bananas

2 cups quick cooking oats

1/2 cup almond butter

1/4 cup coconut flakes

1 tsp cinnamon

chocolate chips

Directions

In a large bowl brake the bananas into smaller pieces then mash them. Add in oats, coconut flakes and cinnamon, mix until well combined. Next add in the almond butter and chocolate chips (again I eyeballed the amount of chocolate). I like to add the almond butter last as it is more difficult to mix the thicker consistency. Then roll the mixture into 1.5″ balls and place onto a cookie sheet. Place in the freezer for 1 hour to firm up. After they are solid, transfer the bites to a freezer safe storage container or bag.

I like to leave these in the freezer and eat them cold. I grab 1 or 2 whenever I want a healthy quick snack to fill me up and keep me going through the day.

Walking and Talking – The walking Meeting

Now that the weather is warm why don’t you try something new while at work? Walking meetings have been becoming more popular. Recent studies have shown that incorporating movement throughout the work day not only positively effects on an employee’s health but also the company’s bottom line. Employees that are happier and healthy are known to be more productive. for example some companies are offering onsite workouts as an employee incentive.

Before your next meeting try persuading your co-worker or boss to make it a walking meeting.

Things to consider:

  1. It is best to keep the walk to 1 on 1 or a small group of 3 people maximum.
  2. Determine the route beforehand.
  3. Consider recording your meeting since you will not be able to take notes.

Here are some of the known benefits:

  1. Stimulate creativity. According to a Stanford Study participants had a 60% improvement in creative output when walking and even greater improvement when they walked outdoors.

Stanford study finds walking improves creativity

  1. Increased Communication. Elevating the heart rate even slightly will increase oxygen flow to the brain. Having less distractions (such as cell phones) will allow you to focus on problem solving.
  2. Improved health. Lack of time is the number 1 reason given when people ask why they do not exercise. Incorporating walks throughout the day even if broken up into 10 minute intervals throughout the day will have great health benefits.

Summer Exercise Tips

It is a great time of year to bring your exercise outdoors.  Incorporating bicycling, running, hiking, swimming are all fun ways to switch up your workouts in the warm weather. You can even bring your traditional exercises outside. Try your strength training workout in your backyard or a local park.

But with the summer heat we need to take some extra precautions to stay safe. Here are a few tips  for exercising on hot summer days.

  1. Timing is everything – try to avoid exercising during the hottest point of the day. This is typically between 10am – 3pm.
  2. Protect your skin –  sunscreen is a must! Even on a cloudy day you can get a sunburn. Be sure to lotion up before you head outside.
  3. Drink Up – It is important to drink before, during and after your workout. Remember to take a few water breaks and drink even if you are not thirsty. You should be drinking 8-10 ounces every 20 minutes.
  4. Dress for Success – loose and light colored clothing is preferable for exercising in the heat.  The light colors will reflect the heat instead of absorbing it and a loose fit will allow your skin to “breath”.
  5. Be knowledgeable – Know the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

5 Coffee Alternatives

Coffee may have its perks but remember it is also a diuretic. For every cup of coffee you drink it is negative 1 cup of water.  Try something new from the list below. There is something for everyone from tea, to milk, to smoothies or juice. All have healthy benefits and you may even find a new favorite.

  1. Matcha Green Tea – 1 cup of matcha tea has the nutritional benefits of 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea. Learn more about the benefits here.
  2. Black Tea – Benefits include lowering your risk of stroke, diabetes and arthritis. Also known to improve your immune system and digestive track.
  3. Nut Milk – High in protein nut milk such as cashew or almond milk can be a healthy and filling alternative to that 3pm slump. Try making it into a smoothie with add ins such as fruit, protein powder or nut butter for an extra energy boost.
  4. Carob Powder – Tasting similar to chocolate but has many more healthy benefits. Carob is packed with vitamins and minerals and is also high in fiber and protein. You can add this fat free, gluten free, caffeine free powder to warm milk with a touch of honey to satisfy your sweet tooth with no energy crash later. Check out this site to learn more.
  5. Sparkling Pomegranate Juice – Benefits include improving heart health, reducing high blood pressure, boosts your immunity and can improve your skin and hair. Just add ½ cup of pomegranate juice (no sugar added) to ½ cup of sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon. Presto! A refreshingly healthy pick me up.

Reward yourself without food

Everyone likes recognition for a job well done. Staying committed to an exercise program and hitting your goals should be rewarded. However, these rewards should come without extra calories. Same goes for other aspects in life. Often we reward ourselves and our children with food. And more often than not the food choice is not a healthy one.

Here are some ideas to reward you, your friends and family that are not food related.

  1. Manicure
  2. Pedicure
  3. Massage
  4. Facial
  5. Buy new workout gear
  6. Buy new shoes
  7. Plan a weekend getaway
  8. Buy tickets to a show
  9. Call out of work
  10. Buy a new water bottle
  11. Go for a hike somewhere new
  12. Buy flowers
  13. Download a new song, movie, app or game
  14. Go to the movies
  15. Plan a night out with friends
  16. Hire a cleaning service
  17. Upgrade your headphones
  18. Try a new exercise class
  19. Book a few sessions with a personal trainer
  20. Buy a new piece of jewelry